In April 2010, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion of astronomers who are searching for planets orbiting other stars, with the hope of eventually finding earth-like planets. The panel, called "Quest for a Living World", was held in Pasadena (sponsored by Discover Magazine, the Thirty Meter Telescope project, and Caltech). We talked about the technology being used to look for planets, how the science is progressing, and even how we look for signs of life.
The video from the panel is now available:
Watching it again I was struck by how young these scientists are. They have not only their whole careers ahead of them, but also an entirely new field of science they’re exploring: exoplanetary science. Think of it! For thousands of years we wondered if there were other worlds out there like ours, or even unlike ours. Now we not only have answers to that question, but we’re actually learning about the physics of these worlds, their chemistry… and who knows? In a few years, we may even be investigating their biospheres.
Two of my
Hive Overmind Discover Magazine co-bloggers took home the top two awards from Three Quark Daily’s science blogging contest: Carl Zimmer of The Loom, and our new blogger Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science. They both wrote about interbreeding of sorts, clearly pandering to the judge, squishy science advocate Richard Dawkins.
OK, seriously, this is very cool. It’s nice to see science blogging get recognized (some major web awards still don’t have a science category), very nice to see good science blogging get recognized, and very very nice that two of the three awards went to folks here at Discover.
When I first moved my blog to Discover a couple of years ago now, I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I trusted the brand and the people at the magazine. This was clearly a good decision — I’m happy here, and I’m really proud of Carl and Ed. They deserved those awards… and I bet we’ll be seeing a few more coming this way over time. We have an excellent group of writers here, and I suspect Discover Magazine will be a force among online science journalism and opinion writing for a long, long time to come.
If you’re out shopping today and happen to pass your friendly neighborhood newsstand, then may I suggest you pick up a copy of the winter special issue of Discover Magazine? The theme is "Extreme Universe", with articles about the Big Bang, quantum mechanics, particle physics, and lots more.
Of course, included in that "lots more " is, well, me. I wrote the introductory essay to the issue, and also have a list of my favorite good and bad science moments in movies.
The Hive Overmind Discover Magazine has a gallery up, too, with pictures and my descriptions of the movies.
I was surprised how hard it was to make the list, given a) I’ve seen almost every science fiction movie ever made, and 2) you’d think examples would abound. But finding specific scenes turned out to be tough, also given the criterion that it has to be in a movie lots of people have actually seen; calling out the lava flow sequence in "Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet" (1965) won’t get you terribly far. But I think I did OK.
Got a favorite bad or good scene in a movie? Discuss.
My fellow Hive Overmind blogger Carl Zimmer just won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Kavli Science Journalism Award for writing in large newspaper, specifically the New York Times.
Carl Zimmer won in the large newspaper category for a trio of articles he wrote for The New York Times on aspects of genetics and evolution. "I sometimes feel a little embarrassed that I like to write articles about the kinds of basic questions my kids ask me," Zimmer said. “For the three stories I submitted, the questions were, "What’s a virus?" "What’s a gene?" and "Why do fireflies flash?" I had a marvelous time talking with scientists about the complex answers to those simple questions, and now, thanks to this award, I don’t have to feel at all embarrassed.” Zimmer previously won in the online category in 2004.
And he shouldn’t be embarrassed, because it’s exactly those kinds of questions that should be written about! Engaging the public is what more scientists should do, and if they did it as well as Carl the world would be a better place.
This blurb for BA was also in their print mag from December, which came as a total — but very nice — surprise.
Hey Corey, are you listening? I write for print mags sometimes, too!